Replacing White Rock’s City Hall – built in 1962 – should not be civic leaders’ priority

New hall a city-wide decision

Editor:

Re: Action on new city hall ‘long overdue,’ June 28.

Once again we are revisiting the new-city-hall saga…

Editor:

Re: Action on new city hall ‘long overdue,’ June 28.

Once again we are revisiting the new-city-hall saga…

So, we have council members who are struggling to convince themselves that a new city hall makes financial sense. It does not. To claim that building a new city hall makes financial sense is simply not true, no matter who on council tries to make the case.

However, even though this topic has been flying very low on the White Rock radar, it seems the idea is far from dormant. It appears there is quiet support from enough council members to approve spending millions of dollars – without bothering to take a public vote. Whether or not you believe a new city hall makes sense, the idea of proceeding to spend millions of tax dollars without the public’s express support is madness.

The larger issue is that the city doesn’t have to build a new city hall it doesn’t need. Given the lagging economy, and spiraling costs of city services, I would hope the last thing any rational politician should consider, at barely five months till election time, is to spend taxpayers money on a new shrine to house the city’s bureaucracy.

But given past experience with current and previous White Rock councils, it is not hard to imagine a project of this magnitude moving forward without a public vote as long as councillors believe it makes financial sense.

Elected officials need to realize they are not given carte blanche to spend tax dollars on a whim. In a city of fewer than 20,000 people, why can civic services not be spread across several sites? The Mel Edwards Centre that was recently built was perfectly suited to have floors added to support new office space, at a fraction of the cost of demolishing and building a new city hall.

Let’s face it, in a city the size of White Rock, there’s no need operationally for a new and larger building.

The recycled sales pitch argues that a new city hall would save taxpayers money because it could accommodate all city offices that are now spread out in the city. Well consider this; email and the ever-changing technological landscape we live in basically eliminates the need for city staff to be in the same building.

In reality, the city council has bigger issues to consider than a new building, the most glaring being the exodus of business from our city. For a refreshing change, let’s have a council focused on solving some real problems.

Council wants a new city hall? Put a referendum on the November ballot and let’s see who really supports it.

Steven Hughes, White Rock

• • •

By all means, let’s build a new city hall! How about the Oxford and Marine Drive property where White Rock Muffler now sits? A four- or six-storey edifice should be sufficient. Of course lots of taxpayer and employee parking should be made available.

Air-conditioning shouldn’t be a problem by just opening a few windows. Providing solar heat on the roof should resolve the furnace-replacement problem.

R. Powell, White Rock

 

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